A Florida Gators Vs. Alabama SEC Championship Is Not A National Semi-Final Game

Tom KesslerCorrespondent IDecember 5, 2008

USA Today’s Mike Lopresti is the latest of an endless consortium of sports journalist to tell the legion of playoff clamoring NCAA Football fans that the 2008 SEC Championship game is this years “national semi-final game”.

Lopresti writes, “For one thing, all those who have been crying for a playoff who don't watch this game should have to turn in their BCS Bashers Club card. This is a playoff semifinal in everything but name. The winner goes to the national championship game, no further questions asked.” (Success with Gators, Tide starts with Meyer, Saban).

“No further questions asked”.  Would you bet your life on it Mr. Lopresti?

Lopresti’s clear lack of imagination regarding possibilities where a victorious Florida would not emerge in the National Championship game is just plain lazy.

It took mere moments for me to jot down a few scenarios that might keep the Gators (ranked 4th in the BCS Standings) out of the Orange Bowl even if they won the SEC Championship game.

Who goes to the Orange Bowl if Bama is dominant for all but the last minute of the game, and by some fluke loses by one point? 

What if the Tide dominated all day, then something akin to the infamous Stanford Band game happened propelling the Gators by one point over Bama as time expires.  Who goes? 

What if Bama is cruising, but the game is delayed days or weeks due to tornados ripping parts of the Georgia Dome roof off… giving the Gators enough time to make adjustments, or get key players healthy…and they win a close one days or weeks later…who goes? 

What if, God forbid, Alabama’s team bus crashes on the way to the stadium and only a few starters are able to play and Alabama loses by 1 point…who goes?

These crazy scenarios are both highly unlikely, yet very possible.  And you know what…a playoff system would shut my ungrateful yap pretty quickly.

I want a playoff because one year, my team may end up like Texas in 2008, or Georgia in 2007…or Michigan in 2006. Another more pervasive problem involves the simple fact that this “playoff semifinal” game is not guaranteed every year…right Texas?.

If Florida versus Alabama is one semifinal, then the other semifinal must be Texas, Missouri…I mean Oklahoma vs. Missouri. And the absurd argument that every regular season college game is a playoff game is simply wrong…every game is NOT a playoff…see  Florida vs. Citadel.

Lopresti is not alone in his co-dependent acceptance of the BCS “playoffs”.

The NY Times Fred Bierman writes, “You want a playoff? Well, here’s your semifinal. This one figures to be epic, with two of the SEC’s most successful and popular programs squaring off in the conference championship game for the sixth time with the winner practically assured a spot in the national title game.” (The Quad…Weekly Matchups: Championship Saturday, December 5, 2008)

“Practically assured” is not enough.

How about IS ASSURED?

Even with a convincing Florida Gators victory on Saturday, I’ll still be checking the news on Sunday to put closure on the fact that there is no guarantee that my team will be playing for it all, until some anonymous motherboard agrees.

Go Gators!